When deciding which diet to follow, most of us rely on friends’ recommendations, online questionnaires, or internet wisdom. Then again, why not shape your food choices off of your actual breath.
Israel-based startup Lumen gives dining recommendations based off of the amount of CO2 which you exhale into their proprietary device (which reveals whether you’re burning carbs or body fat).
We think that breath-based dietary guidance is pretty cool, so we invited Dana Varrone, Lumen’s VP of Strategic Partnerships, to speak at Customize, our food personalization summit, in NYC later this month. Join us there to hear her talk about how personalization can unlock the power of food as medicine (use code SPOON15 to get 15 percent off those tickets).
But first — if you want to learn more about how your breath can indicate what you should be eating, check out our Q&A with Varrone below.
Tell us a little bit about what Lumen does.
Lumen is a device and app that helps you take control of your metabolism. Through your breath, the Lumen technology measures your fuel source in real time, telling you if you’re using fats or carbs for energy, and provides you with a personalized nutrition plan to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
A metabolic measurement (RQ) that was once costly and time-consuming in a clinical setting is now available through a single breath with Lumen.
Why do you think that there has been a rise in interest around personalized nutrition over the past few years?
I think there are three main reasons for the rise. Firstly, people are fed up with going on diets and not getting the results they want, and are starting to recognize that what may work for one person may not work for them. “Go Keto as carbs are the devil” is on the one extreme and “follow the myplate and eat a balanced plate of grains, protein, fruit, veggie and dairy” is on the other extreme of the advice spectrum. Couple this with advanced research being published on how various foods may impact your gut and the increase in allergies nationwide, and question marks start going off in people’s minds of perhaps one size does not fit all.
Secondly, with the rise in technologies such as the AppleWatch, fitbit and the like, consumers are seeing the value in getting personalized feedback. Consumers can now see how many steps they’ve walked, calories they’ve burned and can even get feedback on their heart rate. This immediate feedback empowers consumers to feel like they can now be in control of their own lives, whereas before it was left to your doctor and your yearly physical visits.
Lastly, with the rise in social media and newsfeeds being curated for you, people are demanding speed and instant gratification. This is specifically the case with the millennial generation that have grown up with this being their norm. This results in people wanting answers fast, based on them and their needs, now.
What are the biggest hurdles towards creating personalized dietary guidance towards consumers?
I think the biggest hurdles are in asking the right questions to the consumer at the onset and being able to adjust the personalization over time based on both qualitative and quantitative data that takes into account lifestyle changes, life events, food tolerances, goals, and physiology.
What do you think personalized food or drink will look like 5 years down the road?
I think data from a variety of touch points will be the primary driver in personalizing a consumer’s nutrition and will be housed with an engagement app that makes sense of all the data, with Lumen being at the helm of this.